March 18: Google hasn’t found a hit in making computers, Internet-connected glasses or smartphones. Maybe a wristwatch will do the trick.
The search giant today announced Android Wear, a version of Android tailored specifically for wearable computers, starting with watches. The company said in a blog post that the software will initially focus on health monitoring and using a watch to remotely control other devices.
The software system will be open to software developers beginning today. More details will likely be announced at Google I/O, its conference for software developers.
One of the first so-called smart watches running the software will come from LG Electronics, the South Korean electronics maker. Google said it was also already working on watches with Asus, HTC, Motorola and Samsung.
LG said that after users say to the watch, “OK Google,” followed by a voice command, the screen would present relevant information. That is similar to the voice-controlled system used for navigating Google Glass, the Internet-connected monocle, and Moto X, the smartphone that Motorola developed for Google.
Google collaborated closely with LG on the design and the engineering of the watch, according to Jong-seok Park, chief executive of LG’s mobile communications division. Expanding Android into wearable computing is indicative of Google’s continued interest in hardware, despite its spotty track record with physical products.
Google’s Glass, which has been an object of envy among gadget enthusiasts and the subject of derision among others, is not yet in wide production.